Haunting Violet Paperback – 4 Jul 2011
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Praise for My Love Lies Bleeding:
'Harvey builds an engaging world of vampire cultures balanced with a smart mix of darkness and humor' (Publishers Weekly)
'Witty, sly, and never disappointing . . . Fun, funny, and a relief from Twilight wannabes, this first instalment in the Drake Chronicles has lots to offer for savvy readers and gives vampire addicts a nice twist on their usual fare' (Booklist)
Praise for Haunting Violet:
'I loved this ghostly romp through Victorian high society, from the author of the vampiric Drake Chronicles. Plenty of romance and a sexy, sassy heroine' (Fiona Noble, The Bookseller)
'Strong female characters, great period detail and plenty of ghostly goings on' (The Bookseller)
A stand-alone title from the popular author of the Drake Chronicles, Alyxandra HarveySee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The story is based around teenage heroine Violet, who is an incredibly headstrong and immensely likeable character. One of the things I always like to see in books is a strong and feisty female protagonist and this is one of the many characteristics by which Alyxandra Harvey's books are known. Even though the book is set in the Victorian era, Violet does not allow herself to be bound by the rules of society. She still believes in making her own choices and of being herself, even when her domineering mother may be trying to turn her into something she's not. This helps to create a wonderful juxtaposition between the period in which the story is set and the characters.
As the story unfolds, Violet arrives with her mother at the estate of Lord Jasper. Violet's mother is a fake spiritualist, who has made ends meet by convincing wealthy patrons that she can commune with their dearly departed friends and relatives. Things are turned on their head however, when Violet starts having strange visions and realises that she although her mother can't really see the dead...she can! This realisation, leads to the unravelling of a murder mystery which it's up to Violet to solve.
The book is ghostly and spooky and no matter how many guesses I made, I had no clue about who the murderer was until right near the very end. When the exposition came, it was well thought out and executed and also terrifically exciting. A real page turner!
`Haunting Violet' is much more than just a murder mystery though. There's also a blossoming romance between Violet and her mother's employee Colin, who she grew up with. I wish there had been more time to spend on the relationship between the two of them as it was one of my favourite bits about the book. I loved the way he was always there when Violet needed him, even without her having to ask. I have to say that I swooned a fair bit over Colin who started off as quite an unlikely hero but turned out to be the rock that Violet needed.
If you've never read anything by Alyxandra Harvey before then now is the time to start. This was a fantastic stand-alone novel that really allowed you to connect with the characters and engage with the story. Brilliantly written and tremendously thrilling, `Haunting Violet' is definitely going in my keeper pile. I loved it!
At first the tone is light - likeable Violet irrepressible and accident prone. Gradually the mood darkens, with horrific episodes - she grateful for protection from Colin, her companion since childhood.
An enjoyable read, relying rather a lot on contrivances. Some readers may lose patience with ghost Rowena. Why all the messing around? She knows who killed her. Why not just say? Seances, fraudulent or not, allow an ideal opportunity.
Especially appealing is the developing relationship between Violet and Colin, he once prone to much teasing and practical jokes. Friend Elizabeth is also fun. To be honest, I was not over-impressed by the supernatural aspects, but the murder mystery intrigued. Also most interesting were details of the tricks used in fake seances.
Recommended to those who like a young heroine with spirit (not to mention spirits) and who enjoy a shudder or two.
I'm a big fan of Alyxandra Harvey's Vampire series, The Drake Chronicles. The second book in the series (Blood Feud) is my favourite though. I loved the historical flashbacks to the French Revolution injected between the main story, and in my review remarked that Alyx should think about writing historical when she was done with the Drakes . Little did I know she already had one in the pipeline, Haunting Violet, which went immediately on my must read list as soon as I became aware.
Haunting Violet is set in quite probably my most favourite time in history to read about, Victorian, and centres around the fascinating spiritual medium world, which was extremely popular then. So already I'm sold on this story. And it doesn't disappoint at all; Evocative of its time, eerie and spooky, genuinely mysterious and with that trademark Harvey wit and strong female lead - it's a winning combination.
I loved the character of Violet. Despite being bullied and used by her fraudulent and resentful single mother, she remains a strong character willing to fight back. She has a modern outlook while still fitting in with her era, which makes her both interesting and relatable. Compassionate (if at times grudgingly so to the ghost who desperately needs her help) and intelligent she rocks big time. I thought the plot between the two potential love interests was extremely well done, cringing at her mother's attempts to marry her off to a wealthy gentleman and championing the underdog. There are both very funny and touching scenes in the book, captured in a style unique to this author.
The mystery was also fantastic. What can be more thrilling than a haunted country mansion and a party of nobility and gentry with a murder suspect firmly hidden amongst them. It had a kind of Agatha Christie feel to it, as in it could have been ANY of them, and it was down to the unlikely heroine to eliminate the suspects one by one. For most of the book I didn't know who was responsible, thinking `aha' several times. And while I did guess the eventual culprit a few pages before the reveal, it was still exciting and full of danger so not at all disappointing. Violet's interactions with the ghosts she comes across range from chilling and terrifying to absolutely hilarious, so throughout the book I was either holding my breath in suspense or laughing out loud.
What I really enjoy about Alyxandra Harvey's writing is her snappy, no nonsense and to the point approach. None of her books are particularly long, generally around 300 pages. Yet she always manages to pack so much in and it never feels as if you've been short changed. Haunting Violet is no different and once again the pace gallops along at an engrossing speed with no dips of concentration or loss of interest along the way. I'd highly recommend her books to the more reluctant reader or those with a shorter attention span. Impressively, she also manages to convincingly place us in Victorian England, using authentic sounding language and behaviours without overdoing it and alienating readers by being formal and heavy.
Haunting Violet is a definite success in my eyes and a book I'm only too happy to recommend. Mingling historical settings, romance, a murder mystery and a ghost with Harvey's unique style makes it a must read for fans. I'd also recommend it to fans of Victorian historical fiction and mysteries too, in fact I can't think of many it won't appeal to.
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